The need for emergency relief in Ballarat is increasing, according to workers on the frontline of the city’s charitable organisations.
Salvation Army Ballarat team leader John Clonan says the demand for services is constant.
He has shared concerns the expansion and onset of new people coming to Ballarat will continue to stretch the city’s services.
Charitable organisations are continually searching for new forms of community support.
“We would like to do ourselves out of business but that is not happening. Unfortunately if we had more funds and more staff we would still be flat out,” Mr Clonan said.
“The meals we serve have increased in the last three or four weeks, serving 45, 50 up to 60 people a day. The number of families with small children is getting bigger as well.
“We have 140 volunteers and three part-time workers. We are really pushed.”
Unfortunately if we had more funds and more staff we would still be flat out.John Clonan, Salvation Army Ballarat team leader
Salvation Army volunteers serve a three course meal from rescued food every Tuesday and Thursday.
They’re hoping more Ballarat businesses will support the program, with a need for donations, particularly of protein, something often lacking from the program’s menu.
Donated food is stored in the Salvation Army’s supermarket, which provides a selection to those presenting for emergency food lief.
“It can be frozen meals, fresh food, pasta, whatever we have got,” Mr Clonan said.
Intensive assistance is also available, as part of a preventative and responsive approach to charitable services.
“We case manage clients out of their situations if they wish to deal with the issues that are causing them to seek services here. We also have a financial counsellor to address systemic issues around financial problems,” Mr Clonan said.
“We have had people present here who were employed the previous day, rocked up to work and were told at the end of their shifts there is no longer any work available. They have spent all their money paying bills and have got no funds left.”
Mr Clonan said housing affordability and availability, the minimum wage rate, Newstart Allowance and employment opportunities would be key determining factors for Ballarat in coming years.
“More than financial stress, a lot of people are stressed out generally,” he said.
“Unfortunately I have to say we are going to be here for the long run in terms of providing assistance, given we are still able to do that.”